Two U.S. governors began the long weekend in opposing fashion as the battle rages on in America over wearing masks during coronavirus.
Townhall.com reported that North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum called for an end to the “senseless dividing line” around wearing masks and begged residents to employ “empathy and understanding” and avoid “mask shaming.”
Burgum made the comments at the state capitol in Bismarck on Friday, fighting back tears as he described the reasons people needed to wear masks in public.
“If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support. They might be doing it because they’ve got a five-year-old who’s been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have Covid-19 and are fighting.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who has spoken about the dangers of not wearing a mask in public, was seen posing for photos without a mask on a visit to the Virginia beachfront at the start of the long weekend.
The Guardian reported that a spokeswoman for the governor’s office said he had not been expecting to be within six feet of anyone but conceded he should have been wearing a mask.
Critics on social media were quick to chastise Northam, who is also a doctor. Virginia’s Republican House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert tweeted the phrase “physician, heal thyself” in relation to the incident.
While the Virginia Governor Was at the Beach, President Trump Was in the Same State Playing Golf
Northam chose to go to the beach, but President Donald Trump kicked off Memorial Day weekend by playing golf in Virginia.
He was spotted on Saturday at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia.
While he abstained from wearing a mask, the Secret Service men with him were all seen wearing masks.
Trump made headlines after a visit to a Ford plant in Michigan last week where he briefly wore a mask before taking it off to appear in front of the media in a move Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel called “disappointing and yet entirely predictable.”
She went on to call the president “a petulant child” and said wearing a mask was a “social and moral responsibility.”
According to The Evening Standard, Trump said he continued to take tests showing he was clear of the virus.
“I tested positively toward negative … So, I tested perfectly this morning.”
Currently, neither North Dakota nor Virginia requires people to wear masks in public, but Northam is set to make an announcement about whether regulations will be updated tomorrow.
Shops Are Drawing Battle Lines & Turning Both Mask Wearers and Non-Mask Wearers Away
The White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended wearing masks in public to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, some Americans have taken issue with state-imposed rules on wearing facemasks, leading to increased tensions and even violent confrontation.
In Manchester, Kentucky, local gas station Alvin’s taped a handwritten sign to their front door telling customers to stop listening to the advice of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and warning customers that if they tried to wear a mask inside the store, they would not receive service:
CNN reported that an effigy of Beshear was hung from a tree outside his mansion in Frankfort following a Second Amendment Memorial Day protest, advertised on Facebook as a “Patriot Day Rally.”
An incident in Illinois saw a local woman claiming she had a right to refuse to serve those wearing masks on the grounds that she had to be able to differentiate between adults and children, and a Southern Californian shop rejected masks but welcomed hugs in their construction store.
Posting a confronting video featuring a collection of Americans refusing to wear masks when entering shops, author and columnist Anand Giridharadas decried what he called a “misbegotten, warped freedom obsession.”
A misbegotten, warped freedom obsession is killing us. pic.twitter.com/KbYaTVtR0O
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) May 22, 2020
A Californian woman went viral on the internet last week after she tried to enter a Gelson’s market without a mask, claiming underlying health conditions made her exempt from wearing one.